‘Puffs’ Perform in the Pandemic

EL Drama Club perform with COVID-19 precautions

JOSH MORWAY

Lights, camera, mask, action!

The ELHS Drama Club’s most recent performance, “Puffs,” took the stage in early November, and, even amidst the pandemic, it proved to be one of their strongest performances yet.

The play, a comedy based off of the wizardly series by J.K. Rowling, is about the 7-year story of Potter told from the perspective of the “Puffs,” a nickname inspired by the famous Hufflepuff house.

“‘Puffs’ is a story of friendship, acceptance, and longing framed as a comedy, which makes the story and its subtle nuances accessible to all audiences, especially Potter fans!” junior Rosie Rossi said.

Rossi plays the role of Megan Jones, a girl in denial of being a Puff, aspiring to be like her mother, Xavia, an evil wizard working under the antagonist, the Dark Lord.

“Puffs” is one of the Drama Club’s most unique performances to date, especially because of its preparations.

“It was definitely one of the more tech heavy performances,” junior Patrick Conaway said. “Per scene, there were about 10 different lighting and technical effects every two minutes throughout the performance.”

Conaway played one of the lead roles, Oliver. At the beginning, Oliver is an 11-year- old math savant bound for the math institute at Oxford, but is ripped away and taken to wizard school. Due to his poor academic performance, Oliver has trouble finding his place in the school, but later forms a bond with the characters, Megan, and Wayne.

The Drama Club prepared for this performance for about two months, and the pandemic contested with these preparations. Due to COVID-19, rehearsals have not only been more seldom, but also more restricted due to the protocols of the pandemic.

“The pandemic had made rehearsal situations tough; similar to the musical last year, the directors have had to reimagine blocking for certain scenes to abide by the social distancing rules. This, while difficult, made the show feel almost more original, like it has our own little stamp on it,” Rossi said.

Conaway agrees that the pandemic has created new obstacles.

“With the pandemic, issues where the directors would generally only need to take one or two steps to address now have to take more than that,” Conaway said.

The audience also needs to be spaced one chair apart in order to abide by social distancing rules. This impacted not only the turnout of the audience, but the ticket sales as well.

Despite the pandemic, the Drama Club is flourishing, both in number of members and overall enthusiasm.

“There are 20 members in the casting and nearly 20 in the technical crew; I believe it’s the largest Drama Club team we have ever had,” Conaway said, “Last year, we were limited to 16 cast members and five members of the technical crew.”

Rossi also feels the upbeat student demeanor throughout preparing for this performance.

“I think, because of the inherent absence of previous performance opportunities, we were all so eager to get back on stage and do what we love with the people we love,” Rossi said. “In this show, we were not only playing a group of friends on stage, but we are friends offstage.”

Both Rossi and Conaway have been ecstatic to work as a part of the team during this year’s fall play.

The Drama Club is at its best, and future performances are looking promising, despite the pandemic.

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